It must have been ages since Ronald Ventura mounted a show of mostly small works. We’ve come to associate his astronomical auction prices to equally colossal pieces. Whether or not he conceptualized his paintings and sculpture for Converging Nature with an eye towards making them accessible to his Manila collectors, I thought that their scale worked very well with the gallery’s space. I even felt that his bond paper-sized paintings trumped his bigger ones in terms of subject and detail.
In this exhibit, Ronald attempts to fuse the influences impressed on him as an artist: pop culture, digital images, social media, fashion, art history. His series of sculptures combine his take on classical art with modern mechanisms. Fiberglass torsos that echo Greek statuary have been fitted out with chrome measuring implements to complete their missing limbs. For his paintings, Ronald transformed his drawings, culled from magazine images and random musings, into small-sized renditions on canvas. He subsequently put several of them together to form groups. His three larger paintings (two at roughly 4 ft. x 4 ft. and one at about 4 ft.x 2ft in size) simulate computer-generated photos. They appear pixellated or in the process of being run through a computer program.
I have not seen a Ronald Ventura solo exhibit since 2008’s Mapping The Corporeal at the National University of Singapore. I remember that show for his Zoomanities Gathering, the debut of his “manimal” sculptures. That show also marked the first time he extensively used images from popular culture. Since then, Ronald has broken auction records and shown solo in New York and Milan. This show at The Drawing Room, a homecoming exhibit of sorts, does not break any new ground. His paintings pretty much stay on the course he set during that Singapore show. One gets the sense,however, that with his sculpture, he is on the verge of something new. Perhaps Ronald has used these works to experiment, to create studies for future concepts. And that’s what makes these pieces interesting. The exhibit does demonstrate–yet again–that in painting, hardly anyone comes close to Ronald Ventura’s prodigious skill.
Converging Nature runs from 4 to 22 December 2010 at The Drawing Room, 1007 Metropolitan Ave., Metrostar Bldg, Makati City. Phone (632) 897-7877 or visit http://www.drawingroomgallery.com